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Straight six, rear wheel drive, take two - 2001 BMW 320i touring

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    Straight six, rear wheel drive, take two - 2001 BMW 320i touring

    After my old 320i touring got rear-ended I searched for more than three weeks for a replacement, I found it at ebay small ads just 25 km away from me. It has been put into the net just half an hour ago when I found it for just 3900 Euros, so I immediately called the seller and drove there. I test drove the car and immediately bought it, even though there are some things to do to get it to the level I want it to be. Since my old car has been estimated at 6200 Euros I have 2300 Euros to spare.

    I already drove 350 km with it, 220 km of it were partly derestricted Autobahn. It's very lovely to drive, but it follows every lane groove with it's relatively wide tires (225/45 R17 in the front, 245/40 R17 in the back; before I had 205/55 R16 all around).

    From the BMW VIN decoder:

    Code Standard Equipment
    S520A Fog lights
    S548A Kilometer-calibrated speedometer
    S550A On-board computer
    S832A Battery in luggage compartment
    Code Optional Equipment
    S210A Dynamic stability control
    S226A Sports suspension settings
    S320A Deleted, model lettering
    S338A M Sports package II
    S354A Green windscreen, green shade band
    S386A Roof railing
    S423A Floor mats, velours
    S428A Warning triangle and first aid kit
    S473A Armrest front
    S481A Sports seat
    S493A Storage compartment package
    S494A Seat heating driver/passenger
    S521A Rain sensor
    S534A Automatic air conditioning
    S661A Radio BMW Business (C43)
    S672A CD changer for 6 CDs
    S674A Hi-Fi System Harman Kardon
    S710A M leather steering wheel
    S716A Aerodynamics package
    S760A High gloss shadow line
    S761A Individual sunshade glazing
    S772A Interior moldings Alu Black Cube
    S775A Headlining anthracite
    S785A White direction indicator lights
    S788A BMW LA wheel, Individual
    L801A National Version Germany
    S863A Retailer Directory Europe
    S879A On-board vehicle literature German
    I already changed the head unit for my old head unit which can manage two Bluetooth connections at once and the front light bulbs against Philips Blue Vision Ultras.

    The ToDo-list I have up until now, in no particular order:
    • Vanos O-rings from Beisan Systems since the original O-rings will almost definitely have perished by now
    • Contact mat for the airbag of the passenger's seat is defective, there is an electronic switch to bypass that mat so the airbag always deploys in the event of a crash (would be important if I had a child seat in the passenger seat so the airbag doesn't deploy)
    • Inclination adjustment of the passenger's seat is defective, that can be fixed when the contact mat will be fixed
    • Side bolster of the driver's seat is chafed and there is a patch over it
    • Switch at the rear window for opening the window separately doesn't work, but the window can be opened via the keyfob; either the switch is defective or there is a cable break
    • There are some dings and dents, but nothing major so I can live with that
    • One part of the underfloor is missing due to a small accident, just at the front right corner, I can change that by myself
    • My old car had rubber bands at the luggage compartment floor, this doesn't so I'll buy them new or salvage them from a scrap yard (if I find an E46 touring in a scrap yard)
    • The strap for lifting the inserted floor of the luggage compartment is defective and has been botched with a cable tie
    • I'll buy silver (not chrome) rings for the speedometer, I tried to salvage them from my old car but only managed to get one out before I got impatient
    • Maybe I'll get black kidneys, should look good on a black car
    • Bosch Aerotwin wiper blades for the front - at the moment there are the old style wipers in place, I don't know how the seller could live with them for all the years... - done July 1st 2013
    • Battery in the second key is dead so you can't open or close the car via remote - done July 1st 2013
    • BMW badge in the front is faded - done July 1st 2013
    • Silver decor fillet so the interior isn't all black - done July 1st 2013
    • Some things to program in the onboard computer: - programming done July 8th 2013
      • The car doesn't flash the indicators at all when you open or close it via remote
      • I hope they can program the US daytime running lights when they're at it so the high beams are on at 40% intensity. If they can't, then the EU daytime running light (fog lights) are sufficient, too
      • The rainsensor annoys me, sometimes the wipers come on without any cause, sometimes they don't wipe when they should
    • Air blower output stage is defective (I changed that at my old car myself, so I can change it in my new car, too) - done July 11th 2013
    • Green pollution badge at the windscreen has to go; on the one hand the license plate number doesn't match anymore, on the other hand I don't drive in zones where I'd need it - done July 11th 2013
    • Rear wiping fluid doesn't work; I can hear the pump and there is enough water in the tank so I think the hose is clogged or something - done July 15th 2013
    Last edited by Eye-Q; January 14th, 2018, 11:30 AM.
    Why E10? I'm driving E46...

    Also... get rid of that aftermarket kenwood radio... that looks horrible.
    Fuel consumption:
    Gallery of the e30 restoration:
    If you want to contribute to the rebuild of the E30, paypal is:


      Show me a headunit which can handle two Bluetooth-connections (I have a private and a company cellphone) which looks better and costs less than ~150 Euro and I'd get that instead.
      Why E10? I'm driving E46...


        Get a dual-SIM phone.

        Also: nice ride, Dude.


          I don't think the Kenwood looks that bad


            As the owner of a black straight six BMW Touring I approve.
            1986 BMW E23 735i Goodbye...
            1996 BMW E36 328i Touring Executive R.I.P.
            2001 Mercedes-Benz W203 C220 CDI Classic ...Aaaand it's gone
            2003 BMW E46 330dA Touring Lifestyle Edition
            2014 Renault Clio Tce 90 S&S Expression Pack Introduction
            2018 Renault Clio Tce 90 Intens
            Rental roulette: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


              Not being the owner of a black straight six BMW Touring I approve too.


                Thanks to all.

                Things I already ticked off the list:
                • Bosch Aerotwin wiper blades for the front - so much better than the old crap...
                • BMW badge for the front is ordered, should arrive today or tomorrow
                • Silver decor fillet is ordered, will be shipped today
                • Couldn't use the remote of the second key - turned out the battery is OK, the key just forgot it's programming. Much better than shelling out 160 Euros for a new key and programming of that key. Steps to re-learn:
                  • Lock the car
                  • Open the car with the key you want to program via the physical lock
                  • Put the key you want to program in the ignition
                  • Put the ignition on the first position
                  • Press and hold the "open" button on the key
                  • Pull the key out
                  • Press the "lock" button three times
                  • Release the "open" button
                  • Done
                Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                  BMW badge and silver decor fillet arrived today, it was a matter of about 20 minutes to change them. I also ordered 5 litre Castrol 0W40 engine oil, the previous owner told me the engine needs about a litre per 5000 km and the next oil change is in more than 15000 km so I'll need about 3 litre until then.

                  BMW badge before

                  BMW badge after

                  Decor fillet before

                  Decor fillet after
                  Last edited by Eye-Q; July 11th, 2013, 6:35 PM.
                  Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                    Major improvement!
                    ||| 2015 F20 BMW 116d LCI (company car)
                    ||| 1993 Mercedes-Benz W124 250D


                      Yeah, that was my idea to improve it.

                      Today I was at a guy who can program everything I want. He programmed the following things:
                      • US-daytime running lights (picture below)
                      • Rainsensor deactivated (it annoys me when the interval is irregularly; there is a knurl in the wiper stalk so you can set the interval at the frequency you like, the rainsensor isn't that dependable anyway...)
                      • Indicators now flash when you open or lock the doors via remote

                      Last edited by Eye-Q; July 11th, 2013, 5:32 PM.
                      Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                        Today: a photostory.

                        Ticked off two more paragraphs of the list: replaced the air blower output stage and removed the green pollution badge since the next city where I'd need one is almost 150 km away and I won't drive in those cities where I'd need one anyway.

                        First the air blower output stage, initial situation, glovebox installed:

                        You need to undo six screws (three on the top, two on the sides and one at the bottom), then you have the glovebox in your hand. Two wires for the glovebox light and a power outlet have to be disconnected, too. Another plastic tray with the light for the footwell lighting is only clipped in, another wire to disconnect, too.

                        Afterwards you see an air channel which you don't need to put away, just pull it a bit out of the way. Then you have an motor which actuates the recirculating air flap, it's screwed on with two screws. Some instructions you find in the 'net suggest you have to disconnect the rod for the flaps and remove the motor altogether, but you can pull that a bit out of the way, too. The air blower output stage is located behind the channel and is clipped in with two strong clips. You have to bend the clips with a flathead screwdriver to pull the output stage out of the air channel.

                        After replacing the output stage, just put everything back in reverse order, then it doesn't blow intermittently anymore and doesn't blow when the ignition is off.

                        Then I went on to removing the pollution badge, it's just a matter of soaking it with warm water, pulling it off and remove the rest of the glue with some glass cleaner. While I was at it, I cleaned the whole windscreen from the inside since it was misty and the sun reflected badly when it came right from the front so I couldn't see anything.


                        Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                          One more thing ticked off the list: the non-functioning rear wiping fluid.

                          It turned out to be just a bent hose directly at the pump. I discovered that after I took away almost all the cover panels in the trunk/boot and some of the roof lining to follow the hose which was intact all the way up to the nozzle. For that I had to unscrew the roof edge spoiler, too, where the nozzle sits. The reservoir with the pump sits in the right fender, but the nozzle is to the left of the third brake light so the hose gets routed up the D-pillar, across the whole width of the car between the roof lining and the roof itself to emerge somewhere at the left D-pillar to be routed through a bigger rubber hose to the nozlle.

                          First I disconnected the hose which is located directly at the pump, put the end where the water comes out into a bucket and let it spray. Since it wasn't bent then the water came out.
                          Afterwards I put the hoses back together and took half the car apart to find the hose to be intact everywhere.
                          You can disconnect the hose from the nozzle, too, so I did that and of course there came water, too, since the hose at the pump wasn't bent then.
                          After I reconnected the hose to the nozzle it worked, too, so I got back to the pump itself and saw that the hose directly at the pump had some stretchmarks on it. Sure enough, when I put the hose in a slightly bent position again the fluid didn't come...

                          1 1/2 hours of my life wasted because of a frickin' bent hose - at least I won't have to pay a garage to find that "fault"...
                          Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                            Yesterday I received another item I had on my list: a used intermediate floor for the luggage compartment including the rubber bands. I asked the seller beforehand if the hook on the band to hook it to the ceiling is intact which he confirmed. As I unwrapped it, the hook wasn't intact so I immediately mailed the seller who refunded me the complete money and didn't even wanted the item back (he brakes up busted cars).

                            That's how I got a new used intermediate floor including rubber bands and intact holes for the rubber bands for free.



                            Yes, I know I have to clean the floor, but at least I have rubber bands now which are very useful.

                            Also, I have two appointments: one for changing the Vanos-O-Rings and fixing the broken button for opening the rear window the day after I return from the 'ringmeet (August 13th) and one for fixing the chafed driver's seat side bolster (September 16th - both saddleries in the vicinity make company holiday in August ).
                            Last edited by Eye-Q; August 24th, 2013, 9:53 AM.
                            Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                              Maybe this is a stupid question, but what exactly is the use of the rubber bands?

                              1990 W124 230 E - Everyday mule - better than ever!
                              1985 W123 230 TE - Ex-280 TE - now retired to become a 300 TD
                              1976 W115 200 D - "From zero to barely moving and back to zero again in 80 days"
                              1980 W116 280 S - Classic Sunday car, mostly due to the horrendous fuel consumption
                              1979 O309 508 D - 'Blume' Ex-police Bus


                                If you have something in the luggage compartment which you don't want to tumble around while you are driving you can secure it with the rubber bands. It even works with a small kettle BBQ which otherwise topples over and rattles around.

                                For bigger and heavier stuff the E46 has four points for hooking up stronger bands, too. You can see two of them in the upper right and upper left corner of the luggage compartment (the flaps can be swung out), the other two are at the luggage compartment sill.
                                Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                                  Car is at the workshop now for swapping the O-Rings in the Vanos-unit and figuring out and fixing why the button for opening the rear glass doesn't work.

                                  Black kidneys, silver rings for the instrument cluster, cupholder in the rear armrest (the lid was broken) and the ordered part of the underfloor have arrived, but as I am in hospital that has to wait until I am released (next week).
                                  Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                                    My wallet is now 715 Euros lighter, but that was expected. The 715 Euros include the ordered spare parts and the spares for changing the Vanos-O-rings (gaskets, fittings and so on).

                                    The mechanic said the Vanos-O-rings were extremely hard so it was good to change them even though I didn't encounter the typical problems (bogging at low revs, then surging when the RPM go past 3000 rpm, idle hiccups, difficult takeoffs). According to Beisan Systems about 200 miles/300 km of city driving are needed for fully braking in the seals.
                                    The button on the rear window was defective, additionally there was a cable break in the hinge which has been fixed, too.

                                    The workshop pointed out that the control arm bushings at the front axle begin to perish, but that isn't urgent so it's safe for another 6 months or so. I think I'll make an appointment when the time comes to change the wheels to winter wheels which I usually swap myself.

                                    Little by little it all comes together, at the moment I'm pretty happy with the car and expect no investment besides the driver's seat side bolster and the control arm bushings for the next year or so.
                                    Last edited by Eye-Q; August 16th, 2013, 2:52 PM.
                                    Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                                      Today I got released from the hospital after two weeks, I was eager to work on the car so I went to pick up the spare parts I ordered additionally and fitted them.

                                      Black kidneys:

                                      Instrument cluster before:

                                      and after I put in the silver rings in:

                                      And the hook for the strap of the inserted floor of the luggage compartment to hook it up to the ceiling. Very useful when you have something in the lower compartment and want to rummage around there:

                                      And the content of the first-aid kit were due in 2006 so I put in new content...

                                      [second edit]
                                      Another job tackled: the missing part of the underfloor. I was at a self-help garage to get the car up on the ramp for 10 Euro per hour. Half an hour later the part was changed and I got a good look at the undercarriage. The differential at the rear axle is a bit damp, but it doesn't drip, otherwise I would have seen it in the underground parking lot my car stands every night. I'll consult the garage what they think. Fortunately I have some money left over from the insurance claim so I'll still have a plus even if it has to be done.
                                      [/second edit]
                                      Last edited by Eye-Q; August 24th, 2013, 1:51 PM.
                                      Why E10? I'm driving E46...


                                        The last job I planned doing for the next months: today the seat bolster has been repaired.



                                        Now the car owes me almost exactly 6000 Euros so it's 200 Euros less than what I got from selling my old car and the compensation of the insurance company. Additionally I have a better car (M-package, sport suspension, sport steering wheel, BMW styling 68-wheels) so it's not that bad having an accident where you didn't get hurt.

                                        I'm thinking about changing the spark plugs just to be sure, I don't know when they have been changed last time and they cost just 20 Euros (oil is from 12/2012). I already checked accessibility which is pretty good once you move the air-filter housing for the passenger compartment air-filter (otherwise you wouldn't be able to get to the nut which holds the plastic cover in place), I just need a spark plug spanner and the spark plugs themselves.
                                        Why E10? I'm driving E46...